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Change in strategy leads to victory

Vikings' three-quarters press helps beat Tosa West, 58-46

Dec. 21, 2011

The turning point in New Berlin West's 58-46 victory at Wauwatosa West on Friday came when the visitors got the Trojans to play their type of basketball.

"When we went to the three-quarters court pressure to slow them down we got some steals, but we slowed the pace on them," New Berlin West coach Jeff Lewiston said. "That was critical to our success."

It took the Vikings awhile, however, as they finally put the game away in the final three minutes.

Leading, 48-44, the Vikings (2-3 in the Woodland Conference Blue Division) went on 10-2 run in the final 2 minutes, 32 seconds to win.

First, Darin Sowinski sank two free throws, then Dan Sidesky stole the ball and scored before the Trojans' Ricky Landers put in a layup with 1:17 to play, cutting the lead to 52-46.

Sidesky then took over the game, as he often does, and scored the last points by going 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

Trojans off to quick start

Coming off an emotional 50-46 loss to cross-town rival New Berlin Eisenhower three days before, Lewiston was worried about how his squad would come out of the gates. Especially when Tosa West, a team that starts three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, jumped out to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter.

"They have a lot of talent here," Lewiston said. "They're going to be really good. They have kids who can slash to the basket. We're not blessed with a lot of quickness. We were very concerned.

"They have seven slashers and a couple three-point shooters. The way they play with that dribble-drive hand-off stuff, we thought we could do a lot of switches, but we didn't come out with the eye of the tiger."

But New Berlin West came back with a 16-7 second period, with Sidesky scoring six points, Sowinski four and Dino Poulos and Kevin Marx three apiece.

"The part I was happiest about was we could have folded up the tent right there when we fell behind but we didn't," Lewiston said. "We even got back to where we were ahead by three at half.

"I was pleased that we weathered adversity. It was a good learning moment there."

Tosa West coach Chad Stelse talked about his team's strategy.

"We wanted to spread them out as much as possible," the first-year head coach said. "We didn't think they could guard us man-to-man. That's what we did in the first half - we got to the hoop.

"We got to the hoop in the second half too. If we finish more, if we make our free throws, it's a different game."

The Trojans made it to the line nine times, but could convert only four.

The Vikings lead, 23-20, at intermission, then expanded their lead to 38-30 after three periods.

Freshmen step up

Tosa freshman Steffan Brown opened the final quarter by rebounding his own shot and tossing in a basket. Sophomore Blake Harvey sank two free throws, freshman Andre Carroll sank a 3-pointer and scored a layup on a pass from Harvey to cut the lead to 41-39 with 5:04 left in the game.

But once again Sidesky stepped it up for the Vikings, drilling a 3-pointer and a jump shot before Harvey had a layin for the Trojans, cutting the lead to 46-43.

Sowinski scored another basket and Landers countered with a free throw, setting up the Vikings' final run.

Sidesky finished with 32 points, Sowinski had 11 and Poulos nine, while Carroll had 12, and Brown and Harvey added 10 each for Tosa West.

Lewiston had praise for Sidesky, Sowinski, Poulos and Kevin Marx.

Despite the loss, Stelse saw some positives from his young crew.

"I couldn't say enough about our guys' effort," he said. "That's what I told them after the game. I was so proud of how hard they worked. They wanted this game so bad, and it showed.

"In that first half, if we make our free throws, make a couple inside shots, we might have been up by 10, 12 points at halftime. They kept their heads the whole game; they stayed positive. They stayed at it, which we haven't done in the early part of the year. That's why I'm so proud of our guys and how hard they worked - all four quarters."

But Stelse admits, his young team needs more than moral victories right now.

"Yes, they still have their confidence, but if we could get a victory like this, it would be immeasurable - for their confidence, for the rest of the way," he said.

"We've got a team making strides in the right direction."

TUESDAY'S RESULTS

Brown Deer 66, Tosa West 57

The Wauwatosa West boys basketball team dropped a 66-57 decision at Brown Deer on Tuesday night after having held a one-point lead at halftime, 32-31.

But the Falcons outscored Tosa West, 16-9, in the third quarter and rolled to a 47-41 lead going into the final period.

Tosa West freshman sensation Andre Carroll poured in a career-high 25 points for the Trojans. Jamon Jackson-Wilson led Brown Deer scorers with 19 points.

Tosa West is off until Jan. 3, when the Trojans travel to South Milwaukee.

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